Private Tales Light At the End of the Tunnel

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Ciana

The Beacon
Member
Messages
43
Ciana's fingers curled into fists on the arms of her chair, as though trying to clutch hold of the hope she felt at his insistence that he could help her, desperate to trust it. As he began to explain, however, her expression paused, her fingers unfurling.

She was certain that what he was saying couldn't possibly be true, and so even more certain that he couldn't help her at all. If it was true?.. Then there was no way she'd be allowed to leave this room. In fact, she'd be lucky not to be shipped off to somewhere more secure. Her head shook slowly and she dropped her gaze to her lap with an incredulous laugh under her breath.

"You're mistaken, Professor." she sighed deeply and lifted a shaky hand to rub across her brow, cursing herself for allowing herself to hope. "I am sorry that you've wasted your time. I am sure my father will offer you hospitality before your journey home, wherever that may be."
 
  • Popcorn
Reactions: Maric

Maric

The Scholar
Member
Messages
44
Character Biography
Link
"I am not mistaken." Maric said firmly.

His voice was stern. Like a wall standing before the cannons of an army. He stared at her, not angry, but simply a bulwark against any doubt that she might have carried. The way he looked at her was with nothing less than complete assurance.

He knew that it might not have been news she wanted to hear, but it was the truth. "I don't care for hospitality or home."

Maric said softly.

"I want to see you freed from his prison." He gestured. "This cage you've been put in."

For a moment he paused, then continued.

"You have a gift, Ciana." Maric breathed. "You can deny it, and suffer within the darkness."

His thumb played along the side of his watch. "Or you can embrace it, and become more than you ever imaged."

As he spoke, Maric pressed the small button upon the watch. The little lid flipped upon, and within the gem revealed itself. A spark of light cast around the room, alight that would not burn her, a glow that she would not absorb. It was cast a lustre around the room that she did not absorb, that she could not take, but instead a glow that was a part of her.

A gleam that she would feel almost at home for. A piece of herself carried from afar. Illumination that brought not pain, but joy.
 
  • shock
Reactions: Ciana

Ciana

The Beacon
Member
Messages
43
Ciana's eyes rose to meet his gaze as he spoke to her with such assertion, affirming his belief that she was in possession of some form of unrealised gift. It felt ridiculous to consider it, but his tone had silenced her of any further argument and she settled back into her seat with a look of consternation.

'I want to see you freed from his prison..This cage you've been put in.'

A prison. That is what it had become. It is what she'd yelled at the top of her lungs night after night when she'd had the energy to pace and pound her fists into her door. She looked down at the bruises on her hands and sheepishly pulled them against her with a frown.

She might have thought him a madman if not for the little contraption that he fiddled with. Her eyes fixed on it, and at first she flinched at the light within, expecting it to hurt her, but the surprise on her face was clear when it did not. Instead she felt drawn, as though the light called to her, as though a tether connected her to it in some way. There was a pleasant swell of peace deep within her chest and she sat forward in curiosity.

"What is that?" she asked in a whisper, afraid someone might be listening.
 
  • Smug
Reactions: Maric

Maric

The Scholar
Member
Messages
44
Character Biography
Link
"I believe it's a Tel'Mir." Maric said the words with a strange accent.

He wasn't entirely sure, hadn't even been close to it until this very moment. After the stone had begun to glow there had been fascination of course, and as a man of science he'd not just taken the thing and followed it on a whim.

Instead he'd researched, looked into what he could, and then quickly found small tidbits of information.

"A wayfinder, of sort." He explained. "Part Compass, part focus, part...something else."

Maric was not entirely sure. "Made by someone like you."

One of her ancestors perhaps, a distant relative. He couldn't truly be sure, but he was certain that it was connected to Ciana. That much was already cleared.

With a gentle forward motion, he offered the orb to her.
 

Ciana

The Beacon
Member
Messages
43
‘I believe it's a Tel'Mir’

Ciana couldn’t take her eyes off of it. The light of it reflected in her eyes, even her skin seemed to have regained a little of its natural lustre against its glow.

“Someone like me?..” the girl frowned, though refrained from shaking her head and telling him how ridiculous she found the notion that she was anything other than ordinary. For now, all she had the strength to focus on was the trinket he held in his hand. She looked somewhat shocked that he’d offer it to her to hold, and she reached out with a hesitant tremble of her hands to take it.

The moment it was within her grasp, something shifted. A sudden warmth spreading through her and back toward the little orb. She watched as the thing glowed brighter, and brighter, until she had to squint at how severe the light became and she dropped it with a gasp.

“What is it doing?!” she asked, her heart rattling in her chest as she squirmed back in her chair, her eyes shifting between him and the Tel’Mir, the light of which was slowly receding again.

The light, she noted, hadn’t harmed her. But what she hadn’t yet realised was that her pain had ebbed slightly, nor that she had energy enough to sit up straight, or to get up and stride across the room if she so wished to.
 
  • Smug
Reactions: Maric

Maric

The Scholar
Member
Messages
44
Character Biography
Link
"Fascinating." That was the only word Maric could manage.

He had been watching her every move, every little twitch, all of it. To him this was like the discovery of s a new species. Something utterly wondrous, amazing, and beautiful.

The Professor did not quite understand it, but he didn't need to. What she had told him, the reaction of the Tel'Mir, everything put together made sense. He smiled a ther for a moment, reaching down and picking up the small orb.

It was still glowing, but more softly now. "It's helping."

He told her, his hand gently gesturing to how she now sat in the chair.

Maric had spent his entire life studying magics. He had seen it in his subjects, had tried to empower himself. This was his life's work, and he could see it in Ciana. There was a mystery, but more than that there was a girl lost and utterly unsure of herself.

A girl trapped in a cage.

"This thing inside of you, Ciana." He said softly. "It is dangerous, but only if you don't learn about it."

Maric knew that better than most. "Only if you don't understand it."

He glanced back towards the door, hearing echoing steps in the distance. "I can help you understand, if you want."
 
  • Thoughtful
Reactions: Ciana

Ciana

The Beacon
Member
Messages
43
Her mind reeled, and she felt her heart stumble over itself in her chest. She subtly settled her hand on her thigh and pinched as hard as she could through the fabric of her dress, and with a frown she realised that none of this was a dream.

"If what you're saying is true..." The rest of the words caught in her throat as panic thrummed through her. If what he was saying was true, she would no longer be welcome in her own home. Well, she supposed that she wasn't exactly welcome in it as it was. People were already frightened of her, she was already being punished for something she didn't understand. None who knew her would marry her now, and that had been the plan for her. Now, now she'd no doubt spend the rest of her short life in this room.

The thought of discovering whatever this was, terrified her, but the thought of dying alone in this bedroom terrified her more. She followed his gaze to the door, her chest lifting and falling with quick, sharp breaths.

"Yes." she answered quickly. "Please. If you can help me then yes." she frowned.

The door opened, though it was Elspeth who stood there with Meryl close at her heels. "Professor, Ciana should be resting." she frowned, her glower falling to the vial on the floor that Ciana had refused to drink. "I think that is quite enough for today."
 
  • Sip
Reactions: Maric

Maric

The Scholar
Member
Messages
44
Character Biography
Link
Almost as soon as he heard the door shift Maric snapped the device surrounding the orb shut.

There was a quiet click as the pendant closed, Maric's fingers enveloping both the dvice and Ciana's own palm. He smiled up at the girl, his fingers squeezing tightly around her hands. It was a small, quiet sign as the door swung open and Elspeth appeared.

The Professor swiveled his head. "Should she?"

Maric's voice sounded calm, innocent.

It was the way that he had spoken to professors, the way that he had submitted himself to Nobles and Princes. Everyone who stood 'above' him had expected deference, and Maric had learned that long ago. "It is rather late, isn't it?"

He mused.

"I suppose we'll see each other soon, Ciana." Maric said as he stood from his chair.
 

Ciana

The Beacon
Member
Messages
43
Part of her had hoped Maric would argue. Ciana had already promised her father that she wouldn't cause her step mother any further stress - an impossible feat when Ciana's mere existence seemed to cause the woman stress.

She looked down at her hand and frowned, closing her palm around the trinket and looking back at Maric in confusion. "You're leaving?.." she asked with a shake of her head before looking to Elspeth.

"A little longer, please, Mother. I think he might be able to help m--"

"Now Ciana enough. We've done all we can to help you and yet you refuse to listen to us, or any real doctor for that matter." she glanced at Maric, wrinkling her nose.

"Soon?.." the woman clicked her tongue. "I think what Ciana needs is to rest and recuperate with her family. Meryl, please help her back to bed and ensure she takes her tonic."

"Elspeth!" Ciana interjected before the woman could turn to leave, and the Lady of the house turned a venomous glare on her, clearly affronted at being addressed in such a way. Even Meryl winced. Ciana took a deep breath and slowly pushed herself up from her chair to stand without aid. Both women looked at her in surprise, and a little more so when she took two confident steps toward them.

"The Professor has some interesting theories I'd be interested in hearing more about. I wish for him to be permitted to try his methods before simply dismissing him."
 
  • Cthuulove
Reactions: Maric

Maric

The Scholar
Member
Messages
44
Character Biography
Link
Maric did not take a second of insult, did not even bother to register the note of the woman's words. Such things were inevitable to him. He knew what he was, knew the role that he was to play here. He'd understood the moment he'd heard her first objection.

This game was something else.

One that he had to play intelligently if he wanted to make a difference. One that was just as important as everything else. "My lady."

Maric began with a smile.

"As I told your Lord Husband." The confidence in his tone may as well have been a stone wall. "I am here to help."

He laid a very gently hand on Ciana. "And I believe the truth of that will ring through even the streets."

His words were a subtle threat, a quiet whisper of rumor. There was nothing worse to a woman like Elspeth. Nothing that could hang over her head more. The thought that she may be painted in a bad light, that she might be longed down upon.

"Ciana will be well again." He contended. "I am sure of that."

Fingers gently pressed against the girl, a reassurance.

He would not leave her here.
 
  • Cthuulove
Reactions: Ciana

Ciana

The Beacon
Member
Messages
43
She drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly, a little light headed however she couldn't deny that she felt somewhat stronger, and she was certain that it was still light outside. She noticed Meryl looking at her before glancing to the window as though to check this herself, and then the little woman's dark eyes settled on Maric with intrigue.

Ciana was tense as Maric addressed the Lady of the house, the woman's expression a contortion of fury and restraint. She'd expect a tongue lashing about this later, about how it was unbecoming of a Lady to disrespect her elders or raise her voice.

Elspeth's eyes widened at the Professor's audacity as he settled his hand on Ciana's shoulder and 'subtly' threatened her. Her lips pressed into a tight line, and Ciana noticed her fists tremble as she clenched them so tightly by her sides.

"Meryl. Please show the Professor to the guest suite should he wish to stay. If not, then see him out. Ciana will rest now." she said, and promptly turned to march down the hallway. Meryl gave a short curtsy and stood in the doorway, awaiting Maric's decision.

Ciana huffed quietly and looked up at him, her lips curling slightly at his reassurance, though there was no denying that by the looks of her, she really did need the rest, at least until darkness fell. "Thank you, Professor." she said quietly, her eyes glistening slightly in the dim light. He'd given her hope that she couldn't help but cling onto.

She would be well again. She believed it.
 
  • Smug
Reactions: Maric

Maric

The Scholar
Member
Messages
44
Character Biography
Link
Maric kept his face as impassive as stone.

He was used to these sorts of games. The Nobility was no different than the Professors at Althhaven. All of them blustered, bandied about words. They played politics, whether they admitted to it or not. Elspeth held no love for Ciana, but she knew that her husband did.

As long as that was true she knew that she could not harm the girl, though she would most likely do everything in her power to keep her caged. "Thank you."

Maric said with a smile, stepping away from Ciana and moving towards Meryl.

"I look forward to speaking again, Ciana." He said with a smile, offering a bow. "There's much still to learn."

The Professor mused, turning on his heel and walking out the door alongside Meryl.

As the two of them began to move down the hallway he half looked at her. "If you don't mind my asking, Meryl. How long have you worked for the family?"
 

Ciana

The Beacon
Member
Messages
43
Ciana clasped her hands as she watched him move back toward the door, her brow furrowed until he turned to reassure her one more time that she would see him again. It felt like her soul itself breathed as that hope sparked and ignited within her chest. Unable to dip into a proper enough curtsy, she dipped her chin in a polite nod.

"As do I, Professor." she smiled. He'd given her much to think about before then..

Meryl locked the door of Ciana's room behind her before escorting Maric down the long hallway, his questions taking the stout little woman aback slightly. "The Lord brought me into his service when he lost his first wife, needed someone to help look after Ciana. It's been oh, about fourteen years now." she answered and paused at the top of the staircase.

"Will you be taking the guest suite, Sir?" she asked, a hand gesturing to the end of the hallway and the only door that was left. "I can have supper brought up, if you're hungry." she offered and glanced over the balcony to the foyer, her voice lowering.

"Is it true, that you believe you can heal her of her suffering, Professor?.."
 
  • Cry
Reactions: Maric

Maric

The Scholar
Member
Messages
44
Character Biography
Link
"A long time then." Maric mused for a few moments, watching the Maid.

If he had the right of it, Meryl had been in the service of the family longer than Ciana's Step-Mother had been in the picture. In a way that presented for good news, but he was not yet willing to walk along that branch. Not until he was sure.

A smile touched his face as he nodded. "Yes, the guest room will be fine."

Originally he had intended for an Inn, somewhere in the city. Yet now that he knew the state of things here, the way the Lady of the House looked at Ciana...it was safer to be close.

A clock had been put onto all of this. Ciana's step-mother wanted her gone, or at least the concern of her utterly erased. There was no doubt in his mind that had she the chance, the woman would have sent Ciana to an asylum.

"I do." He said confidently. "It might take a bit of time."

Maric said slowly. "But I believe She will be well again."

He would begin to lay the ground work. Perhaps Meryl would be some help, he hoped at least.

They would need it.
 
  • Bless
Reactions: Ciana

Ciana

The Beacon
Member
Messages
43
The little housekeeper clasped her hands in front of her, her smile broad and her eyes glistening with joy. "Oh I do hope so, Professor, I do hope so." she nodded, and gestured for him to follow her the rest of the way along the hall to the guest wing.

"Here you are.. There is a bell, should you require anything during your stay. Anything at all." Meryl chirruped as she pushed open the door and stood back to allow him to pass.

"You are welcome to wander the gardens. I shall call on Carter to come light your hearth for you. Let me know if you'd like a bath drawn. Supper will be brought up promptly, and breakfast in the morning." she curtsied, though was clearly desperate to rush away and tell the others the good news.
 
  • Smug
Reactions: Maric

Maric

The Scholar
Member
Messages
44
Character Biography
Link
Before long Maric was left completely alone.

His gaze flickered over the inside of the room. Had this been Althhaven he would have searched for magic, perhaps some sort of listening spell or weaving that would put him in danger. Yet this was not his home, it was something utterly foreign.

No, here he had more to worry about from the mundane, the common. Someone peeking through the window, listening through the wall. Other sorts of dangers that he had not considered in some years. "At least you know now."

The Professor mused to himself.

He had begun this journey wanting to find the source of a mystery, and that much he had accomplished.

Now it was simply overcoming that mystery. Finding a way to train Ciana without her step-mother, and perhaps even her own father, stopping him. A difficult enough task, but one that he would tackle tomorrow.

With quick steps Maric walked over towards the door, grabbing the latch and pulling the lock into place. Then he closed his eyes and muttered a quick few terse words, setting in place a ward to alert him if anyone came close.

Tomorrow the real challenge would begin.
 
  • Popcorn
Reactions: Ciana

Ciana

The Beacon
Member
Messages
43
The only times he'd be disturbed were, as promised, with supper and by Carter who lit the hearth and bid the Professor a 'good evenin'' with a tip of his hat and a hopeful grin, having heard the gossip from Meryl.

The room faced onto the gardens that seemed to sprawl on forever at the back of the manor, and two young boys laughed as they chased one another through the maze of tall hedges. A marble fountain stood in its centre, where the water poured endlessly from the stone woman's gourd and koi carp and water lilies thrived in it. It'd been weeks since she'd walked the gardens, and she couldn't help but feel a tinge of jealousy at the children who played it in now, as she had once done.

She slept until the moons rose and the sun rested, and like a fool she sprung from her bed and went to her door to rattle at the handle. Of course it was still locked, it'd been locked for weeks, but she pressed her forehead against the wood with a sharp huff of disappointment.

Ciana pulled on her robe and went to the window instead, drawing the thick curtains back to settle herself on the sill and watch the empty garden below. It was a lonely life, only existing at night, but at least before she'd been able to enjoy the peace and fresh air. Even her windows were locked shut.

Tomorrow, she supposed, she'd see the professor again. Tomorrow she could ask him a thousand questions and try to understand what he told her. Was she really capable of magic? She stared down at her hands, willing them to do something for five straight minutes before she laughed at her idiocy.

"Don't be so ridiculous, Cici." she whispered her stepmother's words with a roll of her eyes.
 
  • Thoughtful
Reactions: Maric

Maric

The Scholar
Member
Messages
44
Character Biography
Link
Maric did not sleep much, he never had.

Even after his...accident, that gift hadn't left him. It was something unnatural, he was sure, but oddly enough he'd never quite taken the time to look into it. Perhaps it was like the old adage; 'Never look a gift goat in the mouth'.

The Professor simply accepted that he did not sleep much more than two or three hours a night, and past that simply allowed himself to exist.

He used most of the night to write in his journal, to chronicle some thoughts. He used a Rune to summon knowledge stored within the depths of his mind, culling the fields of knowledge until he found small tidbits that might come to aid him with the task ahead.

By the time dawn came Maric had made half a dozen notations, each one a new theory on just what Ciana might be.

They were guesses, at best, but that would have to be enough.

What he-what they needed now was progress. Maric needed to show the Lord of this house that his daughter would be okay, that he could help her. Otherwise he would have to take more drastic actions.
 
  • Thoughtful
Reactions: Ciana

Ciana

The Beacon
Member
Messages
43
Ciana lived at night as one would during the day. She was far from energetic, but she ate her meals, bathed and read her books by whatever dim moonlight shone in through her window. By the time dawn arrived, she was sitting in her usual armchair watching the door in the hopes that she'd receive a visit from the Professor before she had to retire once more - but the knock came instead on Maric's door.

"Apologies, Professor - I have your breakfast, and a note from his Lordship." a mousy kitchen help stood nervously outside the door and left the tray of porridge, fruit and sweet bread along with a pot of fresh tea on a table outside for him. With it was a note, the ink still wet.

'Professor,

When you've had time to eat and dress, I seek your company in my study in order to discuss my daughter's illness, I shall await your arrival.

Lord B. Van'Santen'
 
  • Sip
Reactions: Maric

Maric

The Scholar
Member
Messages
44
Character Biography
Link
Maric folded the note, tucking it into his pocket. He cast a glance down at the food, and then quickly took the tray from the girl. "Thank you."

The door fell closed behind her a few seconds later, the smile fading from his face as soon as she was gone.

He ate quickly, deciding that it was best not to delay the proceeding anymore than he had to. Ciana had suffered enough, and he would not see her take more abuse than she needed to. The meal was practically scarfed down, all decorum forgotten in his isolation.

Just a moment later Maric stood, wiping his face with the napkin and throwing on his heavy coat. Into his pocket he stuck the small device that wrapped around the orb, then besides it placed something else from his suitcase.

Shortly after that he made his way towards the study.

Knuckles rapped against the side of an open doorway.

"Lord Van'Santen." Maric addressed the man with half a bow. "You called for me?"
 

Ciana

The Beacon
Member
Messages
43
Baylen turned when he heard the knock, the air around him smoky owed to the pipe he made a habit of puffing on. He dipped his chin and gestured to one of the armchairs at the opposite side of his desk.

"Ah yes, take a seat, Professor. I hope your room is comfortable enough?" he asked as he sat himself in his chair. The Lord had dark, (though greying) hair and dark brown eyes, though there were some features that Ciana had inherited from him despite her having the look of her mother. It was clear that he'd been a handsome man in his youth, but also clear that grief had aged him, giving him the look of a man who was always but a few minutes from sleep.

"I hear that you've made an assessment on Ciana's condition, and that you believe that it's treatable. No others have been of much use, quite frankly, and they too have claimed they might be able cure her of her suffering. I'll ask you first, not to go filling her mind with hope. There are none more than I who wish her cured, Professor, know that. But I cannot stand to see her heart break another time.

That said, I wished to know of your thoughts and findings.." the man frowned gently as he took a long draw on his pipe.
 
  • Sip
Reactions: Maric

Maric

The Scholar
Member
Messages
44
Character Biography
Link
For a few seconds Maric stood there silently. Slwoly he made his way across the room, standinb behind the armchair that Baylen had indicated. His hand came to rest upon the high back of the chair, lips thinning for a few moments.

"Would you?" There was no accusation to his tone.

"I know you love your daughter, My Lord." He said calmly. "But let me ask you a question."

For a brief moment he let the words hang through the air, and then his hand raised. Fingers snapped, a rune sparked into life on the back of his hand, and then suddenly Baylen would witness a sheen of light rush over the doorway. It was a brief flicker, a blink would have missed it.

Slowly the Professor looked down at the man. "Would you see her trapped, caged within your house? Or would you see her free. No matter the cost to your reputation. To your name?"
 

Ciana

The Beacon
Member
Messages
43
The Lord's dark brows furrowed as Maric spoke, and then at the sight of the rune and light his gaze widened in fear and confusion.

"What is the meaning of th--" he'd been about to call for someone, about to demand that the Professor be removed from his home, but the question he asked stunned him to silence and all he could do was stare for a long moment.

"I have only ever wanted what is best for my daughter, Professor." Baylen assured shakily, his hand curling into a fist on his desk. "She is safe here. It is a sanctuary, not a prison. That poisonous boy has already formed some sort of, of mob - if I let her out of this house I can't be sure that she will be safe. I don't care about reputation, nor this house nor anything in it other than my family. I cannot move her away, in fear that she may die." the man's voice broke and his eyes filled with tears. "I cannot let her walk outside, in fear that they might kill her for what they believe she is.. All I can do is keep her safe here until someone can help her." his head bowed.
 
  • Smug
Reactions: Maric

Maric

The Scholar
Member
Messages
44
Character Biography
Link
Maric considered the Lord's words for a moment, those that he had let die on his tongue most of all. A frown touched his features. "Your daughter is not sick, My Lord."

Perhaps he could be trusted.

Perhaps he truly did love his daughter. There was no way of telling but to tell him, not if he wanted him to remain alive. If he reacted...badly, then another bridge would have to be crossed. His fingers tightened on the back of the chair.

"She is a sorceress." He stated plain and simple. "With a gift that she cannot yet control."

The Professor stared down at his employer. "I believe she already used her magic once, when that boy attempted to rape her."

He did not know the specifics of the situation, but he needed to sell this. Needed the man to understand.

"Now that her powers are unleashed, her body is trying to cope with it." Maric explained. "Like lungs sucking too much air. She takes in the light of the day, the fire, the candle even."

Lips thinned. "Desperate for anything it could use to defend itself. Your daughter is not in a sanctuary, My Lord."

His tone grew softer. "She is in a dungeon. Kept away from the one thing that could keep her alive..."

There was a pause between his words.

"If she was properly trained." Maric finally finished.
 

Ciana

The Beacon
Member
Messages
43
Not sick?

Baylen slowly lifted his head to look up at the professor once more, not bothering to hide the tears which had spilled onto his cheeks. He wore the question in his expression, rather than ask it aloud, and the answer that came seemed to be one that he had both been dreading, and in some small part, expecting.

He let a ragged breath tumble from his lips as his head fell into his hands, but the information about what the Baron's son had done caused his shoulders to stiffen and his sorrow to turn to sudden rage that snapped toward the professor. "He what??" he demanded and stood from his chair to pace.

What little he had heard of Maric's explanation made perfect sense, and yet none at all. His daughter, a sorceress.. And one who had quite literally set the Baron's son on fire rather than allow him to besmirch her. His heart broke at the thought of anyone hurting her. At how he'd been hurting her by keeping her locked away in here and how each day he wondered if it would be her last.

Baylen turned on Maric once more, his expression a contortion of anger and anguish. "Trained?.." he asked and looked out of the window. She couldn't be trained here. Not if he wanted to protect her. But that also meant he'd lose her. A muscle feathered in his jaw.

"You.. You're a, a sorcerer, are you?.." he asked quietly without looking at the man. "You could train her? Make her better?"
 
  • Thoughtful
Reactions: Maric